The conflict between Quebec and Canada's more western provinces is not a new thing. Just last month we wrote about Albertans threatening to boycott Quebec maple syrup.
So Quebec premier François Legault was pretty direct in his response to the recent Agust Reid study that showed Quebec "holds the distinction as the province with the least positive sentiment coming from outside its own borders."
TL;DR Legault has explained why he believes Quebec has such a negative reputation with the rest of the country. The sentiments originate back to equalization payments, yet again.
Turns out this notion comes as no surprise to Legault, who easily explained Canada's sentiments about Quebec in Gatineau yesterday.
When asked if he knew why survey respondents held such a negative opinion of Quebec he answered,
"Why? Because Quebec is poorer than the rest of Canada. It puts us in a vulnerable position."
The "vulnerable position" means federal support via the equalization program that will give Quebec $13.1 billion this year.
It's easy to see how other provinces could view this as greedy, as was evidently the case with Albertans last month.
When the Premier made it clear that he would not support a pipeline through Quebec, citing a complete lack of social acceptability, other Canadians felt that if Quebec wouldn't support their economy, they shouldn't support the Quebec economy either.
Legault admitted he may have used "harsh words" when he stated that the "dirty oil" of the West would not come through Quebec, but it's encouraging to see him stick to serving the wants and needs of his constituents first.
This doesn't mean that Legault is content to let Quebec stay in this position, though. While he's "not embarrassed" by the equalization payments, he does express intention to bolster Quebec's economy.
He hopes an increase in private investments will create "well-paying" jobs, which should, in turn, reduce the wealth gap within the province and, eventually, within the country as well.
With a stronger Quebec economy, the province will be in a "better position to negotiate with the rest of Canada and then perhaps be more like other provinces," Legault explained.